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Information technology is ubiquitous in the lives of people across the globe.
Which raises the question, what is information itself?
Unfortunately there is not a completely satisfying and philosophically rigorous definition available, though there are at least two very good starting points.
In some cases, such as massive multiplayer online games (see section 3.1.1 below), these technologies are even opening up new ways for humans to interacting with each other.
Information technologies are used to record, communicate, synthesize or organize information through the use of computer technologies.
For those troubled by the ontological questions regarding information, we might want to simply focus on the symbols and define information as any meaningfully ordered set of symbols.
Mathematicians and engineers prefer to focus on this aspect of information, which is called “syntax” and leave the meaningfulness of information or its “semantics” for others to figure out. Shannon working at Bell Labs in the forties produced a landmark mathematical theory of communication (1948).
Unlike a physical object, theoretically, we can all possess the same digital object as it can be copied indefinitely with no loss of fidelity.
Since making these copies is often so cheap that it is almost without cost, there is no technical obstacle to the spread of all information as long as there are people willing to copy it and distribute it.
It might be a daunting task to record all this information this way but there are a growing list of technologies and software applications that can help us collect all manner of data, which in principle, and in practice, can be aggregated together for use in building a data profile about you, a digital diary with millions of entries.
Some examples of which might be: a detailed listing of all of your economic transactions; a GPS generated plot of where you traveled; a list of all the web addresses you visited and the details of each search you initiated online; a listing of all your vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate; all of your dietary intakes for the day; and any other kind of data that can be measured.